50 Genius Ways to Redo Your Home in 2020
These fun and easy home decorating tips will make your space feel brand new.
Redecorating your home doesn't have to break the bank. Believe it or not, it's entirely possible to completely re-do your home without dipping into a huge chunk of your savings. By following a few simple tricks we've collected from designers and other home decorating experts, you can make your humble abode a lot more fabulous. So if your décor is beginning to look a bit stale, read on for affordable home decorating tips that can make your space feel brand new again.
Paint the ceiling.
Looking to add some color but prefer to keep you walls a pristine white? Jessica Lynn Williams, owner and interior designer at Hendley and Co., has a tip for just that. "Maintain a brightness to your walls while adding an accent color to your ceiling,” she suggests. This can be anything as subtle as a soft sage green or as bold as black. Either way, it’ll open up the room and draw the eyes up.
“Antique rugs can be expensive,” Williams admits. Instead of trying to find a rug that’s big enough for your space without blowing your budget, “use an oversized jute rug for the foundation and layer with a smaller antique rug for pattern.” Natural materials like jute are fairly affordable and easy to find. Not sure about the layered look? Dip your toes into the water by coordinating your rug colors and materials.
Or flip your rug upside down.
If you have a rug with a design on both sides, Erica Riha, interior designer at Marge + Mary, says an easy upgrade is to just flip it over. “Since it’s double-sided, it will have a different texture and muted colors compared to the front of the rug, and can tone down a rug if it is overwhelming a space,” she says. Before you get to flipping, just remember to vacuum the rug or gently spot clean it so you don’t dump a bunch of dirt and debris onto the ground.
Light up your artwork.
Show off your artwork, whether it’s a family heirloom or a thrift-store find. To do so, simply install slim lights above or below the art. “This lighting works best on framed artwork that does not have glass over it,” says Connecticut-based interior designer Holly Holden. “Start with investing with one or two, and continue to add to your collection of picture lights when you can.”
Or turn plates into art.
Anything can be transformed into art. For easy artwork at no extra cost, Riha loves decorating with functional items. “That vase you have high up in a cupboard or plates that you feel are too fancy to eat off of make great art inside open bookshelves or hung on the wall.” You can even ask family members or search flea markets for mismatched plates that will add to your collection. Think of it as a new-age gallery wall.
Swap your stair rods.
Holden suggests highlighting your home’s entrance with brand new stair rods, particularly in brass. “It adds a decorative detail that has been used in cottages and castles and everything in between,” she says. “They can even be ordered with a clear lacquer finish, so you don’t have to polish them. That is music to anyone’s ears."
Paint your fireplace.
If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace—whether it’s working or not—it can be a major focal point in your home. Holden recommends painting the interior a flat black. But be careful before you pull out your average wall paint. “There is specialized paint for this endeavor, and I specify it for new and old houses alike,” she says. First you’ll want to give the entire interior a good cleaning. Then, use a heat-resistant paint that can withstand temperatures up to 1,200 degrees. If your fireplace is purely decorative, you can use any latex-based paint you’d like—just remember that there might be some peeling or cracking with general wear and tear.
Get a different perspective.
Not sure where to start with home upgrades? Riha advises that you “take elevation photos of all four walls of a room. This catches things the naked eye will miss, like if a piece of art needs to be hung on an empty wall, or if there are too many accessories on a bookshelf.” With a new perspective, you can add or take away from your walls as needed. This works in any space, but it’s especially helpful in open spaces where big furniture might be getting in the way.
Clean your hardwoods.
For a quick refresh, consider a full-on clean of all your hardwoods, says Jack White, vice president of technical services at Rainbow International Restoration. But be sure to do it the right way.
Water can warp the wood, so White suggests that you "mop with a mixture of 1/2 to 1 cup white vinegar and 1 gallon warm water." Then, "work in small sections, wiping the floor with a slightly damp cleaning cloth and drying it immediately with a cotton towel." There's truly a luster that can only come from well-polished hardwood floors.
Move your furniture around.
This redecorating task will cost you nothing but a little elbow grease. If you feel like your home needs a makeover, first consider whether simply rearranging your furniture will do the trick. By placing pieces in new positions and maybe even in different rooms, you just might find that what you thought your home was missing was there all along.
Update your hardware.
When it comes to your home, making a small upgrade can have a big effect. "Replacing details such as your drawer handles and cabinet knobs can make a huge aesthetic difference," says Dave Murphy, the national tech director for N-Hance Wood Renewal. Murphy says materials "with a subtle splash of color, sleek silver, or gold finish" can really make something old feel new again.
Or paint old furniture.
If you’re not afraid to roll up your sleeves, this weekend project is a fun one. Riha says that painting is an easy way to change up outdated furniture. “Update a wood furniture piece with bold, high gloss paint as a statement piece in a room,” she says. If you have the time and patience, you can also “create a modern look by painting the entire room, trim, and doors with the same color and finish” as your new furniture.
Mix patterns and textures.
If your bedroom or living room is looking flat, "create an expensive and luxurious look [by] mixing patterns and textures" of pillows, says Magdalena Oshana, founder of New York-based home staging company Stellar Stage.
With various affordable offerings at places like Target and Home Goods, you can easily pick up the pieces you need at bargain prices. Oshana's one caveat? Always decorate in pairs, regardless of how eclectic the collection is. "Adding symmetry creates balance and relaxes the senses," she explains.
Decorate with double-sided textiles.
“A fun trick to add even more texture and color to the space is to find pillows that have different colors on each side that you can turn around when you're in the mood for a switch,” says Avigail Eisenstadt, CEO of AE Design Group. This works for throw blankets, duvets, and quilts as well. As soon as you’re in need of an upgrade, just flip things over and your space will feel instantly renewed.
Swap those throws.
Handles and knobs aren't the only small items in your home that you can quickly and affordably replace. Sara Skirboll, a consumer trends expert for RetailMeNot, also recommends "changing out small accessories like pillows, throws, and small items for your coffee table." She suggests buying inexpensive pieces, so that when you grow bored of your choices, "you can change them up more frequently."
Get a unique backsplash.
Though it's there to catch all the water, grease, and grime that flies when you cook, we all know a kitchen backsplash is also about decoration. This small space plays an outsized role in your kitchen's overall look. To make the heart of the home feel fresh, Murphy suggests finding a backsplash "made from alternative materials like aluminum, copper, or stainless steel."
If that's not your aesthetic, then go for unique shapes like "triangles and hexagons over the traditional rectangles and squares," he advises. Whatever you choose, a new backsplash is sure to give your kitchen "a bold and modern feel."
Use colored grout.
Grout isn't just for sealing in your tiles—it's a great place to make a statement. Curt Rapp, CEO of The Tile Doctor, says colored grout is "trending and an easy, cost-effective way to transform any space in a home." Colored grout can be used on original tiling or applied over existing work. "It can transform ordinary ceramic or glass tile-work into unexpected—and visually stunning—designs."
Paint your lower cabinets.
When you're really ready for some design experimentation, Murphy suggests two-toned cabinets. Simply paint your lower cabinets one color and keep the upper ones neutral. "If you have light floors and countertops, go for dark colors and vice versa," he says. "Think navy blues with whites, pastels and wood, or gray with colors." Balance is key here.
Organize your pantry.
A majorly overlooked space in your home: the pantry. You probably just toss everything in the pantry as soon as you get home from the grocery store, but there’s a way to tame the chaos. Charlie Hellstern, a Seattle-based designer and the owner of Charlie Hellstern Interior Design, recommends tackling the spices first. “There is something gently meditative about going through all the flavorsome and aromatic spices, while turning chaos into order,” she says. “It’s even something the kids can help with.” The only supplies you need are scoops to depot the spices, empty glass jars, and pre-labeled stickers or a label-maker.
Replace your lighting.
For a low-cost redecorating reboot, Jessica Davis, owner of Nashville-based JL Design, recommends looking up and focusing on lighting. "Swap old fixtures for new ones to brighten up a space," she says.
“Already have lamps you love on your end tables? Add a cool arch lamp to add design layers and dimension to your space,” Eisenstadt suggests. This addition of new light serves both design and function. “It’s a cozy element and additional lighting when you want to curl up with a good book.” The same theory can be used throughout your home, too: Install sconces in your kitchen for midnight snack illumination, or give your bathroom mirror an upgrade with vanity bulbs for makeup lighting that mimics the sun’s natural light.
Install a light dimmer.
If you already love your home’s light fixtures but want to take things a step further, install a dimmer dial. This way, “you can have more control over how much light there is," says Kyra Williams, senior interior designer at Bungalow. "For example, in a dining room, you might want lower lighting for a dinner party to evoke a more cozy and intimate feeling, but brighter light when working at your dining room table.” If you’re not crazy about electrical wiring, you may need to hire a professional for this upgrade—but we promise you that it’s worth it.
Use chalkboard paint.
“An accent feature wall is really simple and easy,” says Eisenstadt. To give this age-old idea new life, she suggests a chalkboard wall in the kitchen. For kids, it’s a blank canvas for original artwork. For you, it’s an effortless grocery list within arms reach of the stove. Either way, “it can add a fun café style flair to your kitchen.”
Repaint with a bright color.
One great way to breathe life into a room is to repaint it. Davis suggests taking the opportunity to bring in a bright color to really make a room pop. According to Davis, going bold "will make the room feel brand new." And you can do it on your own, to boot!
Or apply removable wallpaper.
Applying wallpaper is known for being a nightmare task. But you can reap all the benefits of a gorgeous paper print without the hassle by employing removable wallpaper. This once-substandard option has come a long way and is now almost indistinguishable from regular wallpaper. The only difference? It can be used over and over again, and it doesn't require messy external adhesives or a professional crew to get the job done. It's time to give it a try.
Or go bold with murals.
While wallpaper has made a victorious comeback, that doesn't mean you should underestimate the power of a statement wall mural. Kyra Williams says her favorite is a fun nature-inspired print. “The possibilities are endless, and the commitment is minimal,” she says. If you like the idea of the bold accent but don’t want to go all out, try hanging a tapestry with the same leafy, nature-inspired designs.
Or texturize your walls.
Think beyond your basic paint and wallpapers to more textured wall accents like mirrors and wood shiplap. Textures like this give your space a sophisticated touch without too much hassle. Nancy Charbonneau of Charbonneau Interiors says, “There’s a lot of easy-to-install options out there that are also incredibly affordable,” including peel-and-stick wallpaper options that are made to look just like stone, wood, or tile.
Add crown molding.
"Adding crown molding is a simple yet powerful way to elevate the look of a room," suggests Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza, brand editor at home improvement site House Method. It's also something you can do on your own, often in the span of a single weekend.
It's low on time and cost, and the results will speak for themselves. "It's a small investment that carries a large visual impact," she says.
And add overlays to your furniture, too.
Kyra Williams says you can apply the same idea of wall moldings to your furniture. “You may think it’s out of reach or too expensive, but there are quite a few tutorials out there to do it yourself,” she says. There are even several brands that sell kits for molding and overlays that coordinate with furniture from cheaper furniture brands like IKEA. “If you have a bit more of a budget, go for fluting,” Williams adds. “You can do it on walls, cabinets, furniture, any flat surface you can find.” We’re sold.
Divide your space with a folding screen.
Sometimes the best solution for a large space is to split it up. To do this, Kyra Williams advises using a folding screen: “They’re extremely versatile and can be used to divide a space, add privacy, or spice up an otherwise bland space.” As luck would have it, this kind of décor has been around forever, and can even be found in trendier design stores in different materials, styles, and sizes. If you’re not finding the perfect one, you can also DIY your own with wood panels and hinges.
Remove old window coverings.
While you could always update a space with new drapery, there’s also something to be said about forgoing it completely. “Say goodbye to dated window coverings!” says Charbonneau. Instead, “open up your space with natural light.” If you’re a renter struggling with vertical blinds, it’s as easy as taking them down and safely storing them away in your closet until you move.
And get new window treatments.
A small, effective way to make a big change to your home is by switching out your window curtains, shades, or even just the rod that's holding them up. Changing the frame to your outside light source is sure to rebound to the rest of the room, as well.
Bring the outside in.
Just as plants beautify the outside world, they can easily and affordably do the same inside your home. Davis says that "bringing inside a plant gives your space an earthy, spa-like tone."
If you're worried about keeping a precious plant baby alive, Davis says "even a small plastic cactus on a desk" will help.
Decorate with dried plants.
Not born with a green thumb? No worries. Instead of continuing on a cycle of killing plants, Kyra Williams suggests investing in dried plants. “They bring a warm and organic feel to any space and take zero care,” she says. Just head over to you nearest farmers market or craft store, and stock up in the colors and styles that you love the most. Add these hints of greenery to a windowless bathroom—no need to worry about them dying from lack of sunlight.
Put your family photos in uniform frames.
Family photos are treasures, but there are upgraded ways to display them. Elizabeth O'Neill, an agent at Warburg Realty in New York, suggests moving family photos "from their disparate frames to uniform ones." As a result, "they will look much more like a ‘collection' and make your home feel better coordinated."
Or switch up your picture frames.
Sure this one’s simple, but switching out the frames in your home can make a major difference. Charbonneau suggests playing with both color and size. “By switching out dark and heavy frames for light and slim framing, your artwork and your space will have a new, updated feel,” she says. On the other hand, you can also try switching out plain black frames for metallic ones to give your space more of an industrial vibe.
Use knickknacks to your advantage.
While urging homeowners to stick to a less-is-more philosophy, O'Neill nonetheless recommends the use of a few small items here and there to accent your home. "I'm not suggesting going overboard with thimble collections, but creatively chosen tchotchkes can change the mood of a room," she says.
While you can't increase the size of your living quarters without doing major renovation, you can make it feel as if you've gained square footage overnight by using the right materials. According to Larry Patterson, owner of Glass Doctor in Seattle, "glass shelves and tabletops are a great way to subtly upgrade the home without much work while creating the illusion of more space." They're also bound to give your home a more modern feel.
Install a free-standing closet.
If you’re tired of the lack of clothing storage in your closet, this is the year to make your space work for you. Jimmy Seifert, closet buyer for The Container Store, suggests installing a system that allows room for your hanging shirts, your folded sweaters, your many pairs of shoes, and everything in between. The best part is, “it’s completely customizable and can adjust as your storage needs change,” he says.
Buy a clothing rack.
Looking for an aesthetically pleasing way to display your favorite pieces of clothing? Why not take a note from design blogs and try a clothing rack. “They’re mobile and convenient if you don’t have a closet to hang clothes,” Seifert says. Not to mention, if you really want to go for extra style points, you can use the open storage as a way to color coordinate your pieces, or create a capsule wardrobe if you’re trying to downsize.
Store clutter in bins.
Don’t underestimate the power of a simple bin. According to Seifert, they’re a “great way to hide the clutter that could be visible if you don’t have" other clothing storage. To take things a step further, buy bins in coordinating styles to create a space that looks even more organized and will fool your future house guests into thinking everything is actually tidy.
Use your wall space for storage.
Floor space tends to get cluttered with furniture, clothing, shoes, you name it. Instead of buying yet another cube unit to tackle your mess, Seifert suggests taking advantage of wall space by installing elevated drawers and floating shelves. This way, you can find a place for all your goods without sacrificing surface area. Plus, if you have little ones, wall units will reduce the amount of things they can reach or knock over.
Redecorating doesn't always mean adding something new—sometimes, it's just the opposite. If "you have too many things on the surfaces of your furniture [and] you feel stressed just sitting in your living room," that means it's time for some things to go, says Carla Campos, co-founder of 15 Minutes of Creativity.
She recommends going through each excess item in your home and determining whether it can be tossed or donated. After that, your place is sure to feel new and refreshed. "By decluttering, you could turn a busy and stressful room into a more calm and relaxed space that you could be proud of," she explains.
Change your switchplate covers.
Switchplate covers are those metal or plastic frames surrounding your home's light switches. While you might not notice them now, you're sure to feel the difference once you've updated them. Switchplates tend to get dull over time, which can suggest that your entire room has become the same. For the more adventurous, consider switching out a typical white switchplate for a silver or patterned alternative. This subtle pop will make you smile every time you turn the lights on and off.
Refurbish your bathroom.
Of all the rooms in your home, your bathroom may be the easiest to quickly and affordably redecorate. Just think of all the interchangeable pieces! Switching out a shower curtain, a toilet paper holder, a soap dish, or shower head can give you the spa-like bathroom you've always wanted.
Switch up your house numbers.
How the number of your home is displayed outside is not something we often think about. But it can be the first hint visitors and neighbors have of your style and flair. So change it up, says McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza.
"Updated and modern house numbers can be purchased at most home improvement stores for under a hundred dollars," she says.
Not only is it a quick and inexpensive fix, but it's a smart investment, too. "An exterior update like this is a simple way to boost curb appeal," she explains.
Paint your front door.
You know what they say about first impressions, and your front door can either make or break it for your home. Applying a fresh coat of paint to your front door in a color that contrasts yet compliments the rest of your home's facade will quickly transform the entire look of your house. Plus, it requires even less effort—and cost—than painting a room!
Add smart technology.
"Installing smart technology may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering a remodel," says Matt Edstrom, a property management expert at GoodLife Home Loans. But a small addition, such as a smart bulb or thermostat, "can drastically improve the quality and feel of your home."
In addition, the cost of these changes are typically non-prohibitive, and will likely pay off by helping save on energy costs as time goes on.
Upgrade your waste bins.
When was the last time you considered updating your home’s trash bins. We have a pretty good feeling that you haven’t given it a second thought since moving in. Well, the time is now. Holden says this small detail can reap major design points. Consider a retro galvanized bin for the kitchen for a look that’s reminiscent of the 1950s or a wicker design for your guest bathroom. She adds, “lining a waste bin with a paper doily is another adorable and easy-to-do decorative detail.”
Repurpose what you already have.
If you’re trying to stick to a tight budget, use what you already have lying around. As Holden says, “I am always repurposing decorative pieces that I own, or that my clients have. One very easy one, and it never ceases to garner a smile, is using a crystal liquor decanter to hold mouthwash in your bathroom.” Search your storage, check in your cabinets, and find the objects that aren’t serving much purpose for you. With a little creative thinking, you might just discover a new use for them.
Additional reporting by Alexander Briendel.